Friend in Need
Summary: After having a very tough week, Beka considers Flash and suicide, but Tyr helps her out. Rating for subject matter.
Rating: PG-13 for adult subject-matter (drug abuse & suicide)
Disclaimer: I don't own them, I just enjoy getting inside their heads from time to time...
Feedback: Oh, pretty please???
Friend in Need
"I have finally figured this out..." Beka muttered, pacing around the small room she had rented for herself until the funeral was over. "I am bad luck, that's just all there is to it."
More and more it seemed like a completely reasonable statement. After all, her friends and lovers had a nasty habit of dying on her, four in the past week alone. First three ex-business partners who, until she had fallen in with Dylan and the others, had been the closest thing to family that she had, and then Rena, a woman who she had been closer to than a sister until they had quarreled over something so minor that Beka could no longer remember what it had been.
The smart ones, like Bobby and Rena, got out before that happened, but even they could not escape the Valentine curse forever. Bobby was dead by her own hand and now Rena, her best childhood friend, was dead, too. The fact that they had drifted apart in recent years did not make Beka's pain at her death any less. In fact, it made Beka feel even more guilty over it. She had been off saving the Universe while Rena had been fighting a loosing battle with Flash.
Flash... Beka stared down at the tiny bottle in her shaking hands.
Amazing how easy it still was to get despite a sector-wide crackdown on the Trade. Amazing how Beka still had the instincts to know exactly who in a crowded bar was likely to be able to hook her up. Amazing how, even on her best days, she still woke up with that bittersweet aftertaste in her mouth, craving the drug so badly that she still cried over it. Amazing how the only thing that made her feel worse than taking it was not taking it. Amazing that she had held out against it this long.
Rena had been right about one thing. Addiction was a battle that you could not win. The only real cure was death. Rena had opted for that, the easy way out. Beka found herself hating Rena for it, even as she found herself wondering if Rena had not made the correct decision. Beka hated herself, too. She had had Dylan and his crew to help keep her from lapsing, but when Rena had needed her most, she had not even known her friend was in trouble.
Beka glanced at the bottle again. Three doses that would have left a hardened Flash-head reeling. Or one dose that would leave a woman who had not used Flash in almost a year dead. That option was almost horrifying in its appeal. She did not want to die, but right now she did not particularly want to live either.
"What does that leave..." she whispered, shaking her head in confusion.
She had two things in the Universe, Dylan's mission and her friends. The problem was that her friends kept dying on her. And since her friends were the only way that Dylan was ever going to accomplish his mission, she was putting it in danger.
"No, Beka!" she shouted to the empty room, shaking her head. "That's not true and you know it!"
An abrupt knock at the door almost startled her into dropping the bottle of Flash. She fumbled with it for a few seconds then tucked it under the pillow on the bed before hurrying to answer the door. It must have been Tyr. Beka had wanted to come to the funeral alone, had, in fact, turned down offers of company from Dylan, Harper, and Trance. But Tyr had quietly announced that he had personal business on the Drift and was coming whether she liked it or not. Although it had irritated her at the time, she had been grateful for his quiet presence on the Maru during the long trip to the Drift.
She wiped away her tears and opened the door, doing her best to look like she had not just been considering what she had been. "Tyr, hey!" she said, smiling and trying to look happier than she felt.
"May I come in?" he asked, taking in her appearance. She had obviously been crying recently, as he had suspected she would be. However, having given her time to vent privately, he no longer felt that it was in her best interest to be alone.
"What?" Beka asked cautiously.
Tyr reached out and gently slid his hand around the back of her neck, resting the other hand lightly on her shoulder. "May I come in?" he repeated in a gentle voice.
"Why?" Beka asked, not entirely understanding the look of obvious concern that he was scrutinizing her with.
"Prolonged silence followed by pacing and the sound of you screaming at yourself. I no longer feel comfortable leaving you alone."
"I beg your pardon?" Beka stared at him, frowning. He had been eavesdropping on her? Fear that he might know about the Flash overrode her gratitude that he cared that much. She scowled at him. "You've been spying on me?"
"Yes." Tyr nodded unrepentantly. "Humans have been known to grow irrational in the face of personal loss. I was... concerned for you."
"You're only ever concerned for yourself, Tyr..." Beka pointed out, shrugging out of his gentle grasp.
"Very well, then." Tyr shrugged. "It is in my best interest to keep you from harm."
"May I come in now?" he asked, crossing his arms.
"Whatever..." Beka stepped away from the door and sat on the couch. "What do you want, Tyr?" she demanded, glaring at him.
Tyr, who was more than accustomed to Beka Valentine and her moods, ignored the attitude. "Nothing. I thought you might require something."
"From you?" Beka shook her head. "Unless you can raise the dead, no."
Tyr rolled his eyes and sat down next to her, less irritated with her for her behavior than he was with himself for caring about her so damned much about her. "I can not raise the dead, Captain Valentine, but I am not entirely inexperienced when it comes to the loss of loved ones."
Beka sighed. "It sucks, Tyr."
"I had noticed."
"It's not like I'm that inexperienced either..." she muttered, shaking her head. "I don't know why this is tearing me up so much."
"It has not been a good year for any of us..." Tyr pointed out. "To lose four close friends in the space of a week, on top of all that? It is no wonder that you are upset. But you are strong. You will recover."
"Is it wrong to just want to curl up and die?" she asked weakly. As soon as the words were out of her mouth she was kicking herself. He was a Nietzschean. What was he going to say?
"No, it isn't." As Beka stared at him in awe, he continued, never taking his eyes from her. "What would be wrong would be to give in to the impulse."
Beka sighed and leaned against him, resting her head on his shoulder. "But I want to, Tyr." Her voice dropped to a whisper. "I want it so bad that I can taste it..."
Tyr stared at her, startled by her tone. "We are no longer speaking of death, are we?"
Beka shook her head weakly. Tyr knew her too well for her to even try to lie to him. She rose and walked over to her bed, pulling the bottle of Flash from under the pillow. She held it up for him to see, bowing her head so that she would not have to see the condemnation in his eyes. He rose and walked over to her, catching both of her wrists in his hands. To Beka's surprise, he held both wrists in one hand and lightly caressed her face with his free hand. As badly as she wanted to pull away, his hand felt wonderfully soothing against her skin.
"Let go of my hands..." she whispered hoarsely.
Tyr complied, but continued to lightly stroke her face. "You are stronger than you know, Captain Valentine. You would never have taken it."
Beka was crying again, but she made no effort to hide the tears. She just shook her head. "I would have if you hadn't come when you did, Tyr."
"You lie." Tyr shook his head gently. "I have known you long enough to know better."
She shook her head. "Tyr, I don't think you know me as well as you think you do. There's not a day that goes by that I don't wish for this stuff. I'm not as strong as you think."
"Then take it..." Tyr told her, folding his arms over his chest and leaning against the wall, waiting.
Beka stared incredulously at him. "You're standing here telling me to take Flash, Tyr?"
"I am." He nodded impassively.
Beka shook her head. "You? Mister 'addiction is weakness'?"
He nodded. "I do not believe that you are weak, Captain Valentine, and I will not until I see some compelling proof to the contrary." He took her face tenderly in one hand. "Or you can take this opportunity to prove to me, and to yourself, how truly strong you are."
"You son of a bitch..." Beka whispered, shaking her head. "You manipulative bastard."
Tyr shrugged. "Not untrue..." he admitted mildly.
"Why are you putting me in this position, Tyr?" she demanded, shaking her head in frustration.
"Because, Captain, for all of our differences, we do have at least one thing in common."
"Yeah? What's that?" Beka put her hands on her hips and glared at him.
Tyr leaned close and whispered the answer in her ear. "Neither of us can resist a challenge."
She jerked away from him. "Get away from me!"
Tyr shrugged impassively. "Prove me right, Beka, and I will leave. If that is truly what you want..."
Beka stared, startled by his use of her first name. He never used her first name. And what had he meant, 'if that is truly what you want'? She shook her head in confusion and walked into the bathroom. Tyr followed, his face expressionless.
"This what you want?" Beka asked, holding the container of Flash over the sink.
"Is it what you want?" Tyr challenged.
"No!" Beka shouted, shaking her head. "What I want is to take this whole damned bottle at once and never experience another craving again!" She dropped it into the sink with a strangled sob.
"Beka..." Tyr whispered, drawing her into his arms and holding her close.
"Oh, God!" she groaned, clinging tightly to him. "What's wrong with me?" she breathed, burying her face in his chest.
"Hush..." Tyr whispered, rocking her.
"Why do my friends keep dying?" she whispered, shaking her head.
"Is that what has you upset?" he asked gently, leading her back into the bedroom. He walked over to the couch with her and sat her down. "You're afraid that Dylan and the others will die?"
"And you..." Beka nodded, feeling defeated.
Tyr crouched in front of her and took her hands in his. "Captain Valentine, your current circle of friends will outlast the Apocalypse. Harper and Trance through dumb luck, myself through determination, and Captain Hunt because..." Tyr shrugged. "Well, because he is Dylan Hunt!" he grumbled, clearly disgusted.
Beka laughed and shook her head. "Tyr..."
He regarded her quizzically. "Yes?"
She shook her head and wiped away her tears. "You..." she whispered. Just when she thought she had him figured out, he did something that totally refuted everything she believed about him.
Tyr gently took her face in both hands and leaned close to her. "I know what you are really afraid of, Captain, because I am afraid of the same thing."
"You mean we have something else in common?"
He nodded. "Many things, actually. We are both stubborn. And exceedingly attractive."
"Oh, of course..." Beka nodded. "So, Tyr, what is this fear that we share in common?"
"We are both afraid of being left alone..." Tyr told her gently. "But I will never leave you alone, Captain Valentine..." He smiled grimly. "You see, it would not be in my best interest to do so."
Beka laughed. "Tyr..." she whispered. "Thank you."
He rose and gently pulled her to her feet. "You have not finished what you started..." he told her gently.
Beka nodded and squared her shoulders. She walked into the bathroom and picked the half-full bottle of Flash out of the sink. Much of it had spilled when she dropped it, but there was still enough there for her to complete the symbolic act of emptying it down the drain. It felt wonderful, even liberating. Throwing away the empty bottle, she turned to face Tyr, who was leaning against the doorframe watching her.
"Thank you, Tyr. I couldn't have done that without you."
"Believe what you have to..." he told her gently. "I believe that you could have."
"Believe what you have to..." Beka whispered, walking over to him. She stood on her toes and swiftly kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you, Tyr, for being there when I need it."
He smiled thoughtfully at her for a moment, then gave her a kiss of his own, this one neither quick nor on the cheek. When he had finished, Beka stared at him in awe, brushing her fingers over her lips.
"Um, wow..." she whispered.
He smiled at her, that smug smile that normally so annoyed her. This time, it was oddly comforting. He slid an arm around her waist and steered her into the living room. She would be okay. All she really needed was someone to talk to.
"Thank you, Tyr..." she whispered, feeling somewhat dazed by the kiss.
"My pleasure, Captain Valentine..." Tyr assured her with a low chuckle. "My pleasure."